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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

Things to do in Tanzania

Take a scenic flight over Mount Kilimanjaro

The sun has just risen and you’re floating above the clouds, it’s a beautiful way to experience Kilimanjaro…

By Clinton Swai
Pilot and owner of Ruka Africa

Soar above Africa’s highest mountain on our Kilimanjaro scenic flight, I promise it’ll be one of the most memorable experiences you have in Tanzania! The one-hour trip departs from Arusha airport at 7am and passes over the national park, giving you aerial views of ancient craters and herds of animals. As we climb higher, Kilimanjaro dominates the view with its sparkling glaciers and mighty peaks. The sun has just risen and you’re floating above the clouds, it’s a beautiful way to experience Kilimanjaro.

The flight is well-worth the early start, by the time we start ascending everyone is looking through the windows, taking photos and having their own personal moment with the mountain. The views are always stunning, especially if it’s snowed; from the sky, you realise just how immense Kilimanjaro really is. When you board the plane, you’ll be given a headset and tablet loaded with our audio app too. It has geolocation tracking so, as we fly, you’ll learn about the landmarks below.

Ruka Africa is the pioneer of Kilimanjaro flights and we’ve partnered with Grumeti Airline to offer our trips in a Cessna Grand Caravan, which can accommodate eight passengers in window seats. This type of aircraft is used all over the world for scenic flights, including in the Grand Canyon, and has high wings that don’t obstruct the view. The plane is operated by two pilots and because we have oxygen on board, we’re able to go up to 21,000 feet. We fly a figure-eight path on the northern side of Mount Kilimanjaro, so you’ll see everything regardless of which part of the plane you sit in.

We chose this flight route to minimise disturbance for trekkers and we don’t overfly Uhuru peak, which is where they summit. Sustainability is a big part of our mission and for my Masters in International Tourism and Aviation, I wrote a dissertation about scenic flights and Kilimanjaro, so it’s a real passion of mine. We schedule our flights so that there’s only one plane on the mountain at that altitude and time. We also work with Carbon Tanzania, who plant trees in key areas of the country, to offset our emissions. My long-term plan is to fly aircrafts that use biofuels – that’s the big vision.


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Alfred & Clinton Swai

Clinton Swai runs Ruka Africa while working as a full time pilot at Grumeti Air. He has a background in leading wildlife safaris and has trekked to the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro 27 times. Clinton has always been interested in scenic flights but the idea really came together when he completed his Masters dissertation in 2018 titled: Scenic Flights; A Destination Management Approach Towards Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Clinton Swai, Ruka Africa owner, Kilimanjaro scenic flight

Plan your holiday withAlfred&

Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Gemma, who's travelled extensively in Tanzania. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it on their own. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember - the rangers who'll ensure you'll spot the best wildlife, the village chiefs who'll give you a genuine insight into local life and the camp managers who can recommend the very best spot to enjoy your sundowner.

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